Repair or Replace?

Posted on Jul 25, 2017 by Sue

If you’ve sustained damage to your car windscreen, side window, or rear window, it’s always a good idea to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid the damage from getting worse, leaving your vehicle insecure, or even putting it off the road. Many windscreen repair specialists offer a ‘repair first’ option, where they will do everything possible to carry out a windscreen repair, rather than replace the whole piece of glass. A repair is generally quicker than a replacement, and will certainly cost less if you have to pay for it. However, if you have vehicle glass cover on your car insurance, you may be tempted to go for a replacement anyway, on the grounds that it won’t cost you anything so why not?

Glass, Safety Glass, Cracked, Shard

In fact, there is a hidden cost to any replacement of vehicle glass, and that is the fact that unlike domestic glass (used for bottles and jars or even windows), vehicle glass cannot currently be recycled, and if vehicle glass is replaced, the old glass has to go straight to landfill.

Modern technology is the problem

The problem comes about due to the various materials that go to make up modern high-technology vehicle glass. In the old days, when windscreens first came into use, they were made of plain plate glass, which has very little resistance to breaking. In a collision, plate glass fractures into sharp dagger-like fragments which fly through the air. In even a minor collision, deaths and disfigurements from broken vehicle glass were one of the major features of early cars.

Toughened glass

The advent of toughened glass improved matters, but even this was prone to fracturing. Eventually, laminated glass was invented, which was basically a sandwich of two or more plates of glass with a piece of transparent plastic in the middle. In a collision, this type of glass still fractured, but the pieces remained stuck to the plastic layer, protecting the driver from flying glass. However, it was the plastic layer that meant that this type of glass was not easy of cost-effective to recycle, and condemned used vehicle glass to the landfill route.

Smart windscreens

Things have moved on even further since then, and vehicle glass now has all sorts of technology built into the structure, and many cars have smart windscreens with heads-up displays and all sorts of other features. This is great for the motorist, as cars move closer to becoming totally safe and eventually self-driving, but it all means that more and more vehicle glass is destined for landfill, and that is something that we all need to work towards minimising.

Help the environment

So, it’s not just a matter of speed and cost when it comes to the decision to repair or replace, there is an environmental consideration too. If you get the choice, opt for a repair every time and do us all a favour by reducing pressures on scarce landfill sites, as well as helping to keep insurance premiums down just a little bit.